Gems or gemstones are mineral deposits that are generally valued because of physical characteristics, like their cut, clarity and weight (or carat). They occur deep beneath the earth crust (following which are recovered by mining), or they may be organic materials from other sources (e.g. pearls, which are mineral deposits that are produced from oysters).
Gemstones are different and numerous. The different types of gemstones can be classified into two major categories, which are precious stones and semi-precious stones. Precious stones include gems like diamonds, sapphire and rubies. Gems like citrine, amethyst and pearl are semi-precious.
Precious stones are gemstones that are often prized above all others because of their rarity, sparkle, luster and commercial value. There are four diamonds that fit perfectly into this category and they are:
Diamond is the hardest known substance in the world, as well as the hardest known gemstone. It is formed when pure carbon is exposed to extreme heat and pressure, beneath the earth crust, over the course of a very long time (which could be millions or billions of years).
Diamonds are not just formed from pure carbon, they also happen to be one of the two known natural forms of pure carbon. They are made when pure carbon atoms are bonded tightly together in a rigid crystal lattice structure that does not allow easy access for other elements or compounds, such as boron, nitrogen and hydrogen – amongst many others – which result in the formation of colored diamonds. Colored diamonds exist in different hues and shades that depend on several factors including the concentration of interfering elements within the diamond’s crystal lattice. For instance, in the formation of yellow diamonds, if the amount of nitrogen molecules within the diamonds’ structure is not sufficient, the yellow color will not be very prominent. This is because high levels of nitrogen atoms are required in a diamond’s structure, for it to take up blue light and reflect a yellow color.
The tightly bound crystal lattice of diamond also makes it incredibly hard. As a matter of fact, the only thing capable of breaking – or even scratching – a diamond is another diamond. This remarkable hardness is the reason why diamonds are used extensively in the mining and drilling industry, to dig deep into the earth’s crust for the purpose of discovering natural resources such as petroleum and gems.
Culturally, diamonds signify abiding love…the forever kind of love, which is one of the reasons why they are so widely used in weddings.
These red gemstones may not be as hard as diamonds but that little fact doesn’t make them any less precious. These precious stones can be found in a number of countries which include: Cambodia, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Australia, Malawi, India, Madagascar, Pakistan, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and the United States of America. Rubies are generally connected with prosperity, wealth and good fortune.
Sapphires are brilliant blue gemstones that are used extensively in the jewelry making industry. Sapphires are widely desired for their intense blue color, and the more intense that color is, the more expensive the sapphire is. It is widely believed that sapphires are even rarer than diamonds. Culturally, they are closely associated with wisdom, good health, innocence and truth. They are also said to attract blessings and abundance.
These green diamonds are formed when beryl (a mineral) is exposed to chromium or vanadium, which are responsible for coloring it green. Diamonds are not as hard as some other gemstones (and they are nowhere as hard as diamonds), and this is why they aren’t used extensively for industrial application. Yet, these green colored gemstones are widely desired all over the world.
Culturally, they signify love, truth and hope. In ancient Egypt, they were regarded as one of the sources of eternal life.
Semi-precious stones are gemstones that are not as expensive as other kinds of stones (i.e. precious stones), because they are generally regarded as less desirable. This may be because they do not sparkle or glimmer enough when properly cut and polished, because they generally contain a lot of flaws, because their physical structures are not desirable enough, or because they are not rare enough (although, there may be several other reasons why a gemstone may be regarded as being semi-precious).
Examples of semi-precious stones include: citrine, amber, agate, aquamarine, jet, lapis lazuli, malachite, jade, hematite, amethyst, malachite, aventurine, garnet, onyx, opal, kinzite, peridot, tanzanite, turquoise, obsidian, sunstone and so many others. Some of them are very common, while others are rare, however, while many of them still hold a reasonable amount of commercial value (e.g. amethyst), they are generally nowhere as desired as precious stones both globally and in jewelry making.
WHAT GEMS ARE GOOD LUCK?
Many gems have been said to hold different meanings and symbolize a lot of things, culturally and religiously. There are even claims that some of them can attract things like success, courage, prosperity and good luck to their wearer. Some of the gemstones which are said to attract good luck include the following:
Citrine is one of the most popular gemstones, when it comes to this kind of thing. Many people across the world believe that this gemstone wards off evil and attracts good luck to its wearer. They also believe that citrine helps its wearer increase their attention and focus by protecting them from distractions and promoting their imagination
For thousands of years, amethyst has been closely linked to prosperity and good luck. Many people believe that this violet gemstone brings balance and harmony into the life of its wearer, and also helps them in making good decisions.
- Tiger’s eye
Tiger’s eye is a gemstone which may also serve as a good luck charm. This is one of the reasons why it is commonly used in jewelry making, even though it is not a precious stone.
Garnet is another gemstone that is famously claimed to being good luck, prosperity and success into its wearer’s life.